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Horvath Addresses Rotary Club of Beverly Hills

Horvath, a member of the Beverly Hills club, began the May 8 luncheon address by thanking those in the audience who supported her journey from West Hollywood City Councilmember to the powerful Board of Supervisors. Last November, Horvath narrowly defeated former state Sen. Bob Hertzberg in a race that attracted statewide attention. 

BY Ana Figueroa May 11, 2023
Horvath Addresses Rotary Club of Beverly Hills
Rotary Club of Beverly Hills President JR Dzubak and Horvath at the May 8 luncheon Photo by Gaby Alexander
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The Rotary Club of Beverly Hills welcomed Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath to the podium last week. Horvath, a member of the Beverly Hills club, began the May 8 luncheon address by thanking those in the audience who supported her journey from West Hollywood City Councilmember to the powerful Board of Supervisors. Last November, Horvath narrowly defeated former state Sen. Bob Hertzberg in a race that attracted statewide attention. 

Horvath began her speech on a popular note, the transfer of the historic Virginia Robinson Gardens from the county to local stewardship by the city. Horvath’s efforts to obtain that result were acknowledged with applause. 

Then, it was time to move to pressing county business, which Horvath addressed in her trademark rapid clip. Topics ranged from the crisis of the unhoused to mass transportation to clean water to the frayed social safety net. 

Horvath described as a “whirlwind” the transition from a city of 36,000 people to a Supervisorial District of 2 million. She had only nine days between the time she was declared a winner of the race to her swearing-in ceremony. In the five months since then, she has fully staffed up and proceeded to make her mark. 

One of her first orders of business as a new Supervisor was to bring forth a motion declaring a state of emergency on homelessness in the county. 

“I came to the county and I thought, ‘how can the city (of LA) be in a state of emergency and the county is not?’ When we look throughout the county, we need to make sure we are stepping up on mental health. We need to ensure not only housing, but wraparound services that people count on, and most importantly, that the county is working in partnership with the city of LA and every community that has been impacted by this crisis.”

Coming from local government, Horvath had a “bit of insight” into what worked well and what did not when it comes to the unhoused. She appointed herself to the board of LAHSA, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, to make sure that “there is no bureaucracy between myself and where those decisions are being made.” 

As part of the declaration of emergency, Horvath said the county will be focused on housing and encampment resolution. It will also launch a program to address mental health and substance use disorder services as well as report on where Measure H dollars are being spent. 

“Measure H passed in 2018, and what good has it done? It feels like homelessness is getting worse, not better,” said Horvath. 

Horvath then moved on to the topic of investing in county facilities. She touched upon the impacts of public safety realignment resulting from AB 109. Specifically, the fact that that county must now house people who were once part of the state corrections system. 

“In 2015, the LA County Jails signed a consent decree with the Department of Justice to address human rights abuses there. In 2018, the Board of Supervisors voted to shut down Men’s Central Jail, but that is yet to occur,” noted Horvath.

She added that she recently visited that controversial facility with an envoy from the United Nations to “look at what’s actually going on there.”

The governance of LA County overall is another issue Horvath has in her sights. 

For one thing, she believes it is important to study whether the number of seats on the Board of Supervisors should be expanded. 

“Five people for more than 10 million residents is quite unique. Making sure we have the kind of access and resources that everyone in LA County needs is very important to me,” she said. 

Not surprisingly, she is also championing the free flow of ideas amongst the local communities she now represents. 

“The diversity of our district is something we see as a strength. We invited the mayors of all the cities in the district to the home of the Mayor of LA. We focused the conversation on homelessness as a regional issue and had the opportunity to touch on other topics. That kind of collaboration is necessary so we stay current and relevant with issues that are on the ground,” said Horvath. 

One of those issues on the ground is emergency preparedness. She gave a nod to the city of Beverly Hills, for its investment in technologies to ensure the safety of residents. 

Public safety is one of the paramount issues she faces as a member of the Metro Board of Directors. Horvath noted that the expanding rail infrastructure in the county carries opportunities as well as challenges. During a brief Q&A session, she acknowledged security concerns from residents about the Metro stops planned to open in Beverly Hills. 

She offered a hands-on response.

“I’m personally riding Metro trains and buses, trying to get to all the alignments so I can experience what riders experience. There are not enough personnel throughout our system on buses and trains to ensure safety. You may have read that we recently reauthorized contracts with law enforcement and I voted against that. I authored a substitute motion. I don’t think that the existing contracts are doing enough to keep people safe. I didn’t think we should be authorizing the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars to get more of the same. I think we need to do better. We need to invest more resources and more personnel including law enforcement throughout the system to make sure there is safety throughout,” said Horvath.

Again on the topic of safety, Horvath spoke about Measure W, the Safe, Clean Water Program. Passed by LA County voters in 2018, its mandate was to provide local, dedicated funding to increase local water supply, improve water quality, and protect public health. 

“At a future point we will be convening all the water districts in the county, including the Beverly Hills Water District, to be part of a regional conversation on best practices,” said Horvath.

She added that she has welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris to the district to inspect some of the local water infrastructure. 

“I am happy to report that the federal government is quite interested in investing further right here in the district on safe, clean water infrastructure,” said Horvath. 

She concluded her remarks with praise for Beverly Hills and its “richness in culture and community.”  

“One of the things that makes serving in government very special is collaboration with people in communities. As you know, I come from West Hollywood. I’ve had no shortage of people asking me if I was going to put rainbows on everything. I know Beverly Hills is no stranger to this phenomenon, too.”

She added, “I’m grateful for the insights that you have given me to understand your community better, and I hope that you will continue extending me that grace so we can make sure that the county actually meets you where you are in your neighborhood and addresses the concerns that are top of mind for each and every one of you.”

“The diversity of our district is something we see as a strength. We invited the mayors of all the cities in the district to the home of the Mayor of LA. We focused the conversation on homelessness as a regional issue and had the opportunity to touch on other topics. That kind of collaboration is necessary so we stay current and relevant with issues that are on the ground,” said Horvath.

One of those issues on the ground is emergency preparedness. She gave a nod to the city of Beverly Hills, for its investment in technologies to ensure the safety of residents.

Public safety is one of the paramount issues she faces as a member of the Metro Board of Directors. Horvath noted that the expanding rail infrastructure in the county carries opportunities as well as challenges. During a brief Q&A session, she acknowledged security concerns from residents about the Metro stops planned to open in Beverly Hills.

She offered a hands-on response.

“I’m personally riding Metro trains and buses, trying to get to all the alignments so I can experience what riders experience. There are not enough personnel throughout our system on buses and trains to ensure safety. You may have read that we recently reauthorized contracts with law enforcement and I voted against that. I authored a substitute motion. I don’t think that the existing contracts are doing enough to keep people safe. I didn’t think we should be authorizing the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars to get more of the same. I think we need to do better. We need to invest more resources and more personnel including law enforcement throughout the system to make sure there is safety throughout,” said Horvath.

Again on the topic of safety, Horvath spoke about Measure W, the Safe, Clean Water Program. Passed by LA County voters in 2018, its mandate was to provide local, dedicated funding to increase local water supply, improve water quality, and protect public health.

“At a future point we will be convening all the water districts in the county, including the Beverly Hills Water District, to be part of a regional conversation on best practices,” said Horvath.

She added that she has welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris to the district to inspect some of the local water infrastructure.

“I am happy to report that the federal government is quite interested in investing further right here in the district on safe, clean water infrastructure,” said Horvath.

She concluded her remarks with praise for Beverly Hills and its “richness in culture and community.”

“One of the things that makes serving in government very special is collaboration with people in communities. As you know, I come from West Hollywood. I’ve had no shortage of people asking me if I was going to put rainbows on everything. I know Beverly Hills is no stranger to this phenomenon, too.”

She added, “I’m grateful for the insights that you have given me to understand your community better, and I hope that you will continue extending me that grace so we can make sure that the county actually meets you where you are in your neighborhood and addresses the concerns that are top of mind for each and every one of you.”

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